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Aspirations, Habit Formation, and Bequest Motive

  • Jaime Alonso-Carrera
  • Jordi Caballé
  • Xavier Raurich

We consider an economy where individuals use their standard of living based on past consumption in order to evaluate the utility arising from current consumption. We analyse how this process of preference formation affects the bequest motive. We show that habits (based on one's own past consumption) reduce the willingness of individuals to leave bequests, while aspirations (based on the standard of living of parents) make the existence of positive bequests easier. The long-run effects of both habits and aspirations on capital stock and on the amount of bequests depend on whether or not the bequest motive is operative. Copyright 2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2007.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 117 (2007)
Issue (Month): 520 (04)
Pages: 813-836

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:117:y:2007:i:520:p:813-836
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  1. Caballe, J., 1995. "Growth Effects of Fiscal Policy under Altruism and Low Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 309.95, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
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  4. Alonso-Carrera, Jaime & Caballe, Jordi & Raurich, Xavier, 2005. "Growth, habit formation, and catching-up with the Joneses," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1665-1691, August.
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  11. Caballe, Jordi, 1995. "Endogenous Growth, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 156-81, January.
  12. Jhy-yuan Shieh & Ching-chong Lai & Wen-ya Chang, 2000. "Addictive behavior and endogenous growth," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 263-273, October.
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  14. de la Croix, David & Michel, Philippe, 1997. "Altruism and self-refrain," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1998010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Apr 1998.
  15. Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1995. "Saving and growth with habit formation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  17. de la Croix, David, 1996. "The Dynamics of Bequeathed Tastes," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1996004, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  18. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballe & Xavier Raurich, 2001. "Consumption Externalities, Habit Formation, and Equilibrium Efficiency," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 499.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
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